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The Whistleblowers

What does it mean to be a whistleblower in the 21st century?

When Edward Snowden released thousands of classified documents in June last year, information he acquired while working as an NSA contractor, he could not have foreseen it would be the biggest intelligence leak since the Pentagon Papers, affecting governments all over the world.

While he remains busy in an undisclosed location somewhere in Russia, one of his lawyers, Jesselyn Radack, and former NSA crypto-linguist, Thomas Drake, are visiting Australia to discuss the issues which surround the Snowden case. What does it tell us about freedom, the individual and the state? And what do we need to understand about privacy, free speech and security in our times?

Join host Sally Warhaft with Thomas Drake, whose own story inspired Edward Snowden to act on his conscience, and Jesselyn Radack, Director of National Security and Human Rights with the Government Accountability Project (GAP), for this special edition of the Fifth Estate in partnership with Blueprint for Free Speech and the Centre for Advancing Journalism.

Who?

Portrait of Jesselyn Radack

Jesselyn Radack

Jesselyn Radack is a lawyer for both Edward Snowden and Thomas Drake. She was previously an ethics advisor to the US Department of Justice where she became a whistleblower after discovering that the FBI had violated ethical standards and then the Department of Justice had tried to cover it up. She is the Director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project, the most prominent whistleblowing support NGO in the US.

Portrait of Thomas Drake

Thomas Drake

Thomas Drake is a former senior executive and technical director for software engineering at the National Security Agency, where he blew the whistle on massive multi-billion dollar fraud, waste and abuse, the failure of 9/11, as well as the widespread violations of the rights of citizens through secret mass surveillance programs after 9/11.

Portrait of Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She hosts the Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, now in its ninth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.

Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.

The Fifth Estate

For in-depth insider analysis of current affairs, it doesn't get any better than The Fifth Estate. 

This long-running series is a mainstay of the Wheeler Centre’s programme, and of public conversation in Melbourne. Twice a month, our in-house news anchor Sally Warhaft hosts guests from the world of politics, culture, journalism and international relations to dissect pressing questions of policy, power and public affairs. It's free, it's fortnightly and it's a chance to give complex local and global issues the thoughtful discussion they deserve.

Guests are announced in the weeks prior to events, so keep an eye on our website (or the Wheeler Weekly newsletter) for updates. Subscribe to the popular Fifth Estate podcast – or book a (free) ticket – for expert analysis on today's key debates.

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